Learn how to tap your maple tree, collect the sap and boil it down into syrup! We just tapped our trees a few days ago here in Connecticut, and have already collected several gallons of fresh, nutrient-rich organic maple sap. We boiled down the sap with a propane gas burner until the sap reached a wonderful golden amber color and stored it in a sterilized mason jar.
This buttery, light amber syrup pictured above is characteristic of the syrup produced very early in the sugaring season. As the season progresses, the syrup produced will become slightly darker in a medium amber color, eventually getting very dark and robust in flavor as we near the end of the season.
How to Tap a Maple Tree
After properly identifying your maple trees, you are now ready to begin tapping!
- Gather the tools for the job: drill (cordless preferred), hammer, food grade collection container, and a 5/16” drill bit.
- Locate the tree’s Southern exposure. The side facing South tends to produce sap earlier than other sides of the trees.
- Measure the height of the tap hole carefully before drilling. The tap height is based on the total height of your collection container and the length of tubing. Be careful not to drill too high up.
- Drill into the tree approximately 1” past the bark, into the white wood, at a very slight upward angle. Remember to use caution and wear eye protection while drilling.
- Insert the smooth end of the spout into the tree, while the barbed end inserts into your blue tubing. (Pro Tip: place the end of the tubing into hot water for 10 seconds to ease the attachment of the tube to the spout!)
- Firmly tap the spout into the tree, and be careful not to hammer the spout in too much or it will be difficult to remove. It’s better to have the spout slightly loose than to have it stuck in the tree.
- Connect your tubing to a food grade collection container. We suggest using a large, clean spring water jug or soda bottle. Be sure to check the collection container daily, up to twice a day (morning and night) as the flow of sap varies by tree and temperature.
- When you’re finished collection, the equipment can be cleaned and reused next year. (Pro Tip: to ease disassembly of the tube and spout, place in hot water again for 10 seconds to soften the tube.
Maple tapping season runs from January through April, and varies by region. Birch sap flow begins when maple season ends. The season’s length also varies by earth climate patterns year to year. Please research the season in your region before ordering!